Take Our Reflux Quiz – Are You Living Smart?
For most people, heartburn is an annoying, but usually brief, problem triggered by too much wine, smoking, spicy food, or other overindulgence. But for some, heartburn is a painful and constant companion. If you’re in this second group, your chronic heartburn could be a sign of something more serious – gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD.
GERD is characterized by unrelenting acid reflux that can result in not only heartburn, but other symptons as well, such as chronic cough. If you think you might have GERD, it’s important to get help. Over time, GERD candamage the lower esophagus and can lead to a precancerous condition known as Barrett’s esophagus. Left untreated, Barrett’s esophagus can raise the risk of esophageal cancer.
However, GERD can be tricky; not all people with chronic heartburn have GERD, and you can have GERD but not necessarily have chronic heartburn as your main symptom. What’s more, stomach or chest pain can be caused by other conditions, such as an ulcer.
Are Your Symptoms Due to GERD?
Take this quiz and find out. With each question below, ask yourself whether you experience these frequently, rarely, or never:
- How often do you have an uncomfortable feeling, which seems to move up from the stomach, behind your breastbone?
- How often do you have a burning sensation in the back of your throat?
- How often do you have a bitter acid taste in your mouth?
- Do you get a burning sensation in your throat or bitter taste in your mouth after meals?
- Do you have heartburn or acid indigestion twice a week or more?
- Do over-the-counter antacids help your symptoms, but then the symptoms return?
- If you take prescription heartburn medication, do you still have the symptoms?
Answers to Quiz:
If you answered “frequently” to just one or more of these questions, you should follow up with your primary care physician.
You may have GERD, but only your doctor can tell you for certain. It’s important to see your physician, who can diagnose GERD and talk about your options. GERD can be treated with medications such as antacids, histamine 2 blockers, and proton pump inhibitors.
In addition to medication, lifestyle changes such as losing weight, quitting smoking, and watching what you eat can all help curb GERD.
For more information about GERD, check out the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy, which provided the information used for this quiz.
If you want a physician’s clinical take on GERD and its cancer implications, visit this blog article written for primary care physicians by our own Dr. Irfan Firdaus, an OHC medical oncologist and principal investigator for OHC gastrointestinal clinical trials. Dr. Firdaus practices in our Blue Ash, Eden Park, an West offices. His specific interests include gastrointestinal cancer, prostate cancer, and gynecological cancer.